Discover why Iceland is known as the “land of fire and ice” on a voyage to the remote fjords and volcanic isles along the country's western coast. Venture across the stark landscape of an island formed by volcanic eruptions, where the ground is still warmed by geothermal activity. Set out by Zodiac to view towering cliffs teeming with nesting seabirds and snow-capped plateaus rising into the clouds. Explore the legacy of Viking explorers and intrepid fishermen as you visit historic villages and navigate dramatic shorelines from the wild Westfjords region to the volcanic Westman Islands.
Day 1 : Arrive Reykjavík, Iceland | Embark Day 2 : Djúpavík Day 3 : Arnafjörður and Látrabjarg Cliffs Day 4 : Islands of Surtsey & Heimaey, Westman Islands Day 5 : Reykjavík, Iceland | Disembark
Explore Iceland's pristine fjords and dramatic waterfalls
Soak in geothermal hot springs, hike over cooled lava fields at Surtsey
Discover the rich biodiversity of the remote Westfjords
Arrive in Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies only a fraction below the Arctic Circle and receives just four hours of sunlight in winter and 22 in summer. Have a guided overview of the Old Town, including Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral with its 210-foot tower, and perhaps shed some light on the Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and artifacts, and unusual whalebone carvings on display. Embark National Geographic Explorer.
Enjoy a leisurely morning at sea, learning about Iceland and its incredible diversity. We will spend the afternoon on the remote eastern side of the Westfjords to experience rural Iceland. This corner of Iceland is difficult to access and is seldom visited by many people but boasts spectacular beauty and rich history. We will take advantage of the dramatic landscape of the fjord to offer hiking, leisurely explorations of the tundra, and perhaps photography of wildflowers. The tiny town of Djúpavík held its place on the map because of the golden age of herring. During its heyday in the 1930s, its herring plant was the largest concrete structure in Iceland. The plant closed in 1954 but remains as a small museum and a memory of the rich productivity of the herring industry in Iceland. We’ll visit the museum and learn about the significance of this resource to all of Iceland in the 20th century.
In the early morning, our ship will glide into beautiful Arnafjörður, along the northwest coast of Iceland. For a more active experience, disembark early and hike several miles along the base of the fjord to visit spectacular Dynjandi Waterfall. Alternatively, join our expedition staff on the bow of the ship as we venture ever deeper into the fjord and then go ashore by Zodiac to walk up to the base of the waterfall, passing nesting arctic terns along the way. This afternoon, sail past the immense Látrabjarg Cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area once famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Conditions permitting, we may also launch our Zodiacs to see the incredible cliffs from the waterline.
Day 4 Islands of Surtsey & Heimaey, Westman Islands
The Westman Islands were formed by undersea volcanoes between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago and are among the youngest of the world’s archipelagos. In 1973, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. Drive between the two volcanoes of the island then visit the ruins of old Viking houses dating back to the year 900 AD. Opt to hike up Eldfell volcano, formed during the 1973 eruption, and have amazing views of areas that were engulfed by lava. In some places, the ground is still warm with thermal vents. Watch for nesting Atlantic puffins and gannets along the shores of the island. In 1963, the world witnessed on film the birth of its newest island, Surtsey—a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site—which we see as we cruise past the coast.
Day 5 Reykjavík, Iceland | Disembark
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Today we complete our circumnavigation of Iceland, disembarking in Reykjavík. Choose to visit the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths or enjoy a visit to a hot spring, a geothermal power plant, and an Icelandic horse farm, prior to flights home. Alternatively, join us for one of the optional post-voyage land extensions and continue your explorations of this amazing country!
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!